Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thabiti and Me on Multi-Site

“Thabiti, what arguments for multi-site have you found persuasive?”  My articulate response: “Uh, none.”

Thabiti Anyabwile enlarges on the reasons why he is unconvinced about multi-site churches here.

I agree with him for the most part, which no doubt means nothing to him. And very little to you. But I thought I would say it anyway.

This article highlights my concerns with the celebrity culture and maybe even ego (as the poster mocks) in the modern day church world. There seems, among the multi-site model, the idea that a church in X city cannot grow by means of a local pastor-teacher. We need to transmit the Big Guy in to teach and leave the little stuff to someone local who can’t preach all that well, but can pray with the sick and take up an offering.

And the Big Guy has to agree to it, which is where the go comes in. He is convinced that no one in that city can do the job as well as he can.

One megachurch pastor spoke of one of their campus pastors who was a campus pastor because he could only speak to about 350 people. After that, he couldn’t do it. (I am not sure why.) So they made him a campus pastor and piped the Big Guy in on DVD.

The reality is that multi-site works in a lot of cases. As one guy said, “People follow communicators.” Which is why spinning off a congregation usually doesn’t diminish the attendance at the Big Guy’s site.

But is it a good idea? I am less than unconvinced. I think the dangers and issues I raised a while back when I wrote on the modern day bus ministry still exist. In the old days, bus ministry brought the people to the pastor. The modern form of bus ministry takes the pastor the people via means of video.

For all of us ordinary guys out here, there can be a tendency to get discouraged, to wonder how we can measure up, to wonder why God isn’t blessing us like that, to wonder if we got a second-hand video camera if we might be able to have more influence. To wonder if we are doomed to either DVDing someone else or surviving with mediocrity. We might even wonder if we should at least imitate a multi-site guy to get better results.

At these times, if you are not firmly committed to your calling, to the garden in which God has you planted, and to the belief that God is the one calling shots, these temptations can become overwhelming.

In these days, we need a fresh dose of being An Ordinary Pastor. It is okay to be ordinary.

Don’t worry about celebrity pastors and multi-site churches. These you will always have among you, to borrow a line from one Guy.

Let us be faithful, passionate, involved in the lives of our people, teaching and preaching the word to the ones we have without undue concern over the ones we don’t have. Let us pray and be diligent, even if we never get a conference invite. Let us labor week after week, year after year, and let God do his work in his church.

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